Natural History Diary : October 2018
Wednesday 31st October
I managed to fit in a trip to Farmoor this afternoon. The usual species were well represented again; I counted at least 128 Cormorants. At Pinkhill there were Blue and Great Tits, and a female Reed Bunting on the feeders, but no Water Rails turned up. I was a bit surprised to see a Common Darter as well, but I saw ten more on the way to Shrike Meadow. They were mostly basking on wooden fencing. On the way to the south end of F2 there was a Grey Wagtail at the water's edge. At the south end the feral Snow Goose flock was out feeding on the grass. I counted 105 of them, including seven blue-phase birds and seven juveniles. On the way home I saw a Kestrel at the allotment.
Tufted Duck, Farmoor, 31-Oct
Snow Goose, Farmoor, 31-Oct
Common Darter, Farmoor, 31-Oct
Tufted Duck | Farmoor Snow Goose | Farmoor Common Darter | Farmoor
Saturday 20th October
I visited Standlake Common this morning. Unfortunately it was pretty foggy so I could hardly see anything on Pit 60! A few Wigeon and Teal were just about visible when they came close to the shore. The water level is still very low. The feeders had some custom: Blue and Great Tits, a Robin, three Reed Buntings and two Chaffinches.
Having abandoned Pit 60 as a bad job, as I was driving back to Abingdon the sun came out! I stopped at the allotment, where I saw two Skylarks (one was singing). At home a pristine Red Admiral turned up to feed on Ivy in my garden (the flowers seem to have finished so I'm not sure what it was actually feeding on).
Red Admiral, Abingdon, 20-Oct
Red Admiral | Abingdon    
Wednesday 17th October
A Raven flew over north Abingdon just after midday today. In the afternoon I saw a flock of 16 Long-tailed Tits at the allotment.
Tuesday 16th October
I visited Farmoor this afternoon. It was pretty murky, with a light southerly wind. Other than the usual residents, the only species of note were Little Grebe (7), Meadow Pipit (2), Common Sandpiper (1) and Green Woodpecker (1). For once the Common Sand allowed a reasonably close approach. One of the Little Grebes was diving near the shore at the sailing club, and was quite obliging for photos.
Pied Wagtail, Farmoor, 16-Oct
Common Sandpiper, Farmoor, 16-Oct
Little Grebe, Farmoor, 16-Oct
Pied Wagtail | Farmoor Common Sandpiper | Farmoor Little Grebe | Farmoor
Wednesday 10th October
I visited Otmoor this morning. It was sunny and quite warm. There was little to see on the way up to the bridleway, except for a Muntjac on the seasonal path. Common Darters were present in some numbers along the bridleway and up to the first screen. A Painted Lady was feeding on Michaelmas Daisy flowers, and there were several Migrant Hawkers as well. At the first screen there were lots of noisy Canada and Greylag Geese on the lagoon, along with a couple of Barnacle Geese and some hybrids (probably Greylag x Barnacle). There were also a few Wigeon and Teal, and a couple of Snipe. On the way to the second screen I found a couple of Small Coppers before a Clouded Yellow came down the path towards me. It landed several times, presumably to warm up. Nothing new appeared until I walked along the old roman road, where a male Brimstone was taking advantage of the sunshine.
Painted Lady, Otmoor, 10-Oct
Barnacle Goose, Otmoor, 10-Oct
Migrant Hawker, Otmoor, 10-Oct
Painted Lady | Otmoor Barnacle Goose | Otmoor Migrant Hawker | Otmoor
Small Copper, Otmoor, 10-Oct
Clouded Yellow, Otmoor, 10-Oct
Small Copper | Otmoor Clouded Yellow | Otmoor  
Tuesday 9th October
Today I saw a Small Tortoiseshell in the garden, as well as an unidentified dragonfly. I also heard a Common Frog croaking. At the allotment I saw two Small Whites, a Kestrel and a Red Kite.
Sunday 7th October
I visited Farmoor this morning. Although there were lots of the usual species (Coot, Tufted Duck, Canada Goose and Great Crested Grebe), the only noteworthy sightings were one Yellow-legged Gull, three Little Grebes, three Grey Wagtails and two Meadow Pipits. As I was returning to the car park two Sandwich Terns flew across F1 and departed to the west. I saw a single Common Darter near Buckthorn Meadow.
Black-headed Gull, Farmoor, 07-Oct
Yellow-legged Gull, Farmoor, 07-Oct
Meadow Pipit, Farmoor, 07-Oct
Black-headed Gull | Farmoor Yellow-legged Gull | Farmoor Meadow Pipit | Farmoor
Thursday 4th October
There were a couple of Small Whites at the allotment this afternoon.